Who?

I’ve been attempting to re-write my (now deleted, burned, and ashes blown to the wind) about me section for this website as of late. In the wake of all that’s happened this past six months, it rang of a girl I no longer am. 

Separation (and divorce, once we get around to it), co-parenting while living together, being single again, my significantly changed role at work, and an inevitable move that will help further cement these necessary and changed dynamics. 

These are times of upheaval. Growth, becoming, relief – and upheaval.

I find myself standing among these pieces and grasping at where I belong. What shoe now fits. What identity rings true. What and who I now am.

For years too many, I identified myself by who I was to someone else. Mother, wife, sister, and daughter. 

In this time of now — a clawing back of independence and identity, listening to my own needs, and speaking of truths — who is Sarah

And so, I’ll write it out.

For what should become as a surprise to no one, I know not how to begin at anywhere else other than my faults.

Socially anxious and awkward. Shy. Unsure, self-doubting, and eternally self-deprecating. Often overwhelmed, terrible at asking for help, and demands of herself a level of work/”doing all the things” ethic that is often to her own detriment. Doesn’t know when to stop in those regards, and also doesn’t exercise enough or get outdoors as much as she should. Conflict avoidant (to the point of numbing out), repressor of feelings, and perpetually worried about “rocking the boat”. Has difficulties asserting herself and would love more than anything to just melt into the background – much like her slippery and evading sense of self-identity. Painfully perfectionist and introverted beyond measure.

Yet, at the same time, there is goodness.

Caring, kind, and thoughtful. Supportive, reliable, and helpful. Stable, peaceful, and patient. Careful, yet hopeful. Organized, meticulous, and detailed. Conscientious, observant, and a defender of the vulnerable. Respectful, progressive, and loving. Joyful and humble (perhaps to a fault).    

(Admittedly, not quite as good as talking about her good bits as she is her “bad”.)

And then there is that which is simply that.

The comforts she finds in the definable. Cozy in the exacts. Beauty and stability in data. Her eye for specifics. A love of words, reading, and stories. An appreciation for wit and intellect. A (100% untrained) connoisseur of tacos, thrift shopping, and Reese’s peanut butter cups. Liberal and atheist, and at one with nature. Nerdy. Give her video games with housing systems and give her board games with friends – she will be content. A complete, utter, and well-meaning doomsponge… but, also, a troll of the most loving proportions.  

And at the end of it all, a survivor of childhood trauma and postpartum mental health reckonings – keenly aware of how they have made her who she is to this day.

New and old truths, new and old shoes. Here lies my journey fourth.

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Oh.

Finally, the separation was a reality. Happiness became you. You were free. You could live again. Oh, the sweet relief.  

And lived you did. Not long after you jumped onto Tinder (it was what people did, you thought). You were there for things you had longed for and missed. To genuinely talk to a guy, to connect, to shamelessly flirt, and to feel attractive. You soon discovered the (deceptively shallow) thrill of a match. Oh, the validation.  

Matches turned to conversations; your phone glued to hand. You were giddy on difference and change. And thrived in the attention. You came to life. Years of a dead marriage and dead bedroom left you determined. You would harness this energy. You would become again. Oh, the renewal.  

Alas, that wave soon broke.  

For you awoke. 

Eyes opened to the inner voices that lead you to stay unhappily in a marriage for years too long.  

Not a single one of these people would like you in the flesh and blood, Sarah. Your tinder profile, despite how overly honest it is, was nothing but a ruse. You, in all your eagerness and wonder, were but a ruse. Oh, to be a ruse.  

And the conversations turned to ash.  

Rife with uncertainty (where do you go next?), you turned to what you knew. The comfort of World of Warcraft. You hadn’t used your computer much these past few years and it took some adjusting, but your heart sang. You found (some) of your people again. You were having fun again. You were living again.  

But again, you awoke.  

Was this living? Or were you just there to chase the next validation? Dare not find it in yourself, but in those that once showered you with it. They found what you couldn’t. Oh, what you couldn’t.

(And among these messes that you are and where they have led you, there came to be someone else. The one with the voice that you’ve low key had a crush on *for years*. You start talking daily. You somehow end up playing WoW together, and you soon found yourself in Valheim. As your friendship has grown, so does your crush. It’s profoundly silly of you, he’s a thousand miles away. Yet, you know better than to have a single expectation. You’re just enjoying each other’s company, you reason. He’s a delightful escape from your mess, you justify. Oh, to rationalize.)

This past weekend, you deleted Tinder. It was a relief to be on the other side. But… on the other side of what? 

The other side of knowing what you want? You feel no closer to that now than you did at the precipice.

Or on the other side of knowing what you need? For this is a need that does not have the time, Tinder. The bravery. The capacity. The energy. The readiness. And it would be a lie to say I ever did.

And that next validation hit — it needs to come from myself. Myself alone.

Oh, to know.

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I see you.

In the way she navigates life. Taking those purposeful turns and back alleys, expertly maneuvering and avoiding any possible problem or issue. Even at her own peril – her own peril.

In the way she exhaustingly strives to see everyone happy, living in harmony and at peace. Even if it means she’s not there – she’s not there.

In the chronic people pleaser in her. An insistent persistence to please. Even to her own detriment – her own detriment.   

In her biggest want in life: peace. To be with and at peace among all. Even if that peace is beyond her, and there lies a battle within her — battle within her.

In her core fear: conflict. Her fallbacks and coping mechanisms of avoidance and silence. A purposeful hiding of her being – hiding of her being.   

In how she expresses herself only when there is little to no chance of discord. Absolute necessity being the only moments in which she dare gives voice – dare gives voice.   

In her obsession with safeguarding peace. Frozen still I find her. Acting or speaking her truths, she is found unable – found unable 

In her need for perfectionism. A perfectionism born rooted in a frantic need to not disappoint. To be found worthy. To be loved like you should have been – like you should have been. 

And in the very path that guides her as a mother and early childhood educator. Children — those of her own and the lives of others she touches — giving them the peace you didn’t have.

The peace you didn’t have. 

I see her.

I see you.  

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